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If you were getting a pair of speakers for use with a 2A3 tubed SET amp
what would you desire for the way that the speaker is designed ?
I am not seeking the ultimate exotic build . Just a starting point that is quite capable of demonstrating what this type of amp can do .
I would like a 2-way so that I can get good bass response , not really interested in single driver speakers .
Thank you for your time with this .
I am using Audio Note E/Spx Alnico HEMP loudspeakers of around 96dB sensitive - and Audio Note's 2a3 Empress monoblocks with M6 preamp blew me into next week. Power and bass were rather astounding. Granted Audio Note is on the very expensive end of the price spectrum and the parts are beyond first rate so that may have something to do with 7 watts seeming like 700 watts (indeed a reviewer in the UK recently compared them against 700 watt per channel amps and found the bass to be better on the SET! So much for weak SET power. Just need the right two way.
I ran my AN J/Spe for 13 years on the Audio Note OTO Phono SE which was a SEP amp using EL84. It was measured at 4.2 watts undistorted per channel. The speaker is 89.5dB sensitive or 92.5dB in the corner. Min 5 ohm. The OTO never had trouble belting out ~28hz of bass at pretty good drive levels - enough to make my keyboard bounce on the table. So pretty loud but not crazy crazy loud like some big 15 inch woofers on some 100dB sensitive horns.
Interestingly - the Empress at 7 watts per channel seems significantly more powerful than Audio Note's 300B monoblocks rated at 8 watts per channel for the same price. I was really surprised by the weight and power of the 2a3.
The Empress Silver 2A3 is on my list for future upgrade but I have a couple of things ahead of it right now.
Just to add to the many suggestions here, you may consider the BK20 kit from Madisound. It's a backloaded horn with a Fostex 8" driver and it has an F3 of 45 Hz, with a sensitivity of 96 dB. You can add a Fostex T90 tweeter to make it a 2 way, and the assembly looks easy, but I come from a long line of carpenters. I heard the BK10 2 ways some years ago and was impressed by it as a good value, as well as sounding good, plus they don't take up that much floor space.
Disclaimer: I don't work for Madisound or sell Fostex.
Paul Eizik ;
Sorry about the mis post...late night and all that! I am glad that you found it , thanks .
I'll post this question again in the right place...
It has been mentioned , that just because a speaker has the required characteristics large woofer , 16 ohms , 100db. eff. and large volume box's , it may not play well with low power amps like the 2A3 . What else should I pay attention to ?
Please don't delete the post in question as I'm just too lazy to re-type it ; )
A SET amp by it's very nature has a low parts count, therefore changing a part will have a greater impact on the sound than say a solid state amp which may have hundreds of parts. It's hard to generalize unless someone here has tried your amp with the speakers you are interested in. BTW Alan and Lawrence were discussing Alan's Lowther Medallions which I had heard a number of times, as Alan set the record for hosting the most Chicago Horn Club meetings. Most of the times Alan was running Korneff 45 SET amps on the Lowthers which have even less power than a 2A3 amp. There was a Carver subwoofer used and there was never a shortage of power in my humble opinion. Some people object to the Lowthers having a "tizziness" at the top end, and I could hear this on some music, but at one point an inductor mod was introduced (which I forgot the name of) and I never heard the tizziness again. You may run into an issue like this with the BK20's as the Fostex woofer also has a "wizzer cone" like the Lowther (that is to say a secondary small cone near the dust cap to extend the highs). So comments about the Lowthers could be applicable to the BK20's.
Keep us posted on how the project is going and what speakers you decide on.
Hi Paul, we may know each other as you have attended like me to the chicago horn meetings at Alan's? were you the guy who had the Edgar horns?
Ps I also remember the song that Alan like to play it was the house of the rising sun from cyndee peters very nice dynamic song but it rang terribly with the lowthers could have been the amp too dont really know but I remember it very clearly, Anyways very good times in them days.
We undoubtedly have met at some of the CHC meets. The guy with the Edgarhorn Titans was Ray M. who bought the speakers Bruce took to Midwest Audiofest in Ohio back in '02. He built a new house with a dedicated listening room in the basement, and after a couple of meets he disappeared from the scene suddenly. A nice guy, and I often wondered what happened to him.
I'm stick'n to my story that I never had a problem with the upper end on the Lowthers after the inductor mod was added, they were always very listenable and could play anything. If you want to hear some "audiophile screechies" try the YG's at Axpona. I thought they were unlistenable last year. John Atkinson's measurements in Stereophile shows them engineered towards the flat philosophy, which means that the ancillary equipment and source material were selected to bring this out. Their motto is: "The best speakers. Period.". If you're going to the Ax this month you might try bringing the Cyndee Peters recording (which I don't remember hearing) and see if it clears the YG room out. That's quite a personal thing I think, last year one of the CHC guys said that he thought that most of the rooms at the Ax sounded screechy, but I thought that it was maybe 20% that did.
Oh Yea Paul, now i remember Ray and I did attend at his new house somewhere in plainfield? nice looking speakers the little lowthers alan has or had at the time were more dynamic and I still say they have ringing distortion but some people just don't hear it, its all good my hearing is exceptional I have bat hearing you know? every time I would go to my parents house they have this outside device that is suppose to deter wild animals like raccoon etc, I can hear that very well I used to ask my parents (don't you hear that its very annoying) they said no they don't...but all my senses are acute somehow.
anyways Yes Ray I wonder what happen he was very impressed with my little single ended amplfier he would talk about it all the time ...his wife as i remember was not too keen with his hobby esp in the new house.
How time flies
Last I heard from Ray was maybe 12 years ago? He mentioned wanting to part with the Edgars that last email, then he went silent. I think he just soured on the whole scene, I have some suspicions on why, but it doesn't really matter.
I liked Allen's set-up, he had a nice balanced system. Yes, the Lowthers could tiz, but every system is a compromise. His was one of the better compromises.
I don't know if you were at Ray's meeting with the Staight-8's upstairs, I was the guy with the PP 6B4G's on rusty Dynaco Mk II chassis.
My my, the years fly...
Bean, Whats your name? and Yes I remember little about your system I mostly was downstairs, In those days I had much interest in learning about everything LOL, nowa days I have settled in IMO not much more to learn I have heard many horn systems(most kinda sucked) but When I visited Chris's from Teres audio his old room and setup with his old edgar horns they were very good, but still shy short of what I consider the very best.
Anyways damn it was kinda fun in them days the people and the get togethers now the Internet has taken over no one wants to get together anymore :(
I guess most of the chicago horn club guys have gone.
I'm Kevin (not the Kevin that had the online DIY business). Wasn't around much in the latter days of the Chicago get-togethers, life just got busy. There are still folks hanging around here, tho.
I also took my speakers to the first MAF when the Chicago club had a room. Vintage "hi-fi furniture" cabs w/Edgar salad bowls propped on top.
I see some folks I know every year at AXPONA. I'll be there this year on Friday.
Paul and all...
I have not acquired an amp as yet . I felt that the speaker would be more difficult to source .
This thread seems to have gone in two different directions .
Camp 'A' is positioned in the big box/big driver thinking .
Camp 'B' is with a smaller box/smaller driver thinking .
Both seem to be able to hit the requisite efficiency requirement .
Camp 'A' will definitely move more air and take up more space . Maybe better suited to classic rock and symphony orchestra .
Camp 'B' seems like it would finesse and 'fit in' easier . Maybe better suited to female singers and small venue jazz .
I realize that this is a broad generalization but could it be useful for deciding which camp to pursue ?
Small boxes simply will not equal the efficiency of larger boxes.
Eventually everybody will "come" to there senses and run a good system
BOSE BOSE BOSE BOSE BOSE BOSE BOSE BOSE BOSE BOSE BOSE BOSE BOSE BOSE LOL
Then get a really efficient speaker! 103db 1 watt/1 meter will be about the minimum.
This is because with most SETs, if you push it past about 20% of full power, the odd and higher ordered harmonics start to show up.
The ear uses those harmonics to gauge how loud a sound is, so even though this can cause the amps to sound more dynamic, its not actually natural.
One of the big advantages of an SET is that the distortion becomes unmeasurable at lower powers. Distortion adds to harshness and obscures detail, so not having it is a good thing (where some of the 'magic' of SETs occurs). But to really experience that on a day in day out basis, you simply have to have a speaker that is efficient enough that you never push the amp hard.
So in the case of a 2A3 you really do need horns. I recommend 16 ohms too.
I agree about the distortion, especially when you want to hear spectrally complex symphonic music. I'm a big fan of Mahler myself, which is why I am driving my 101dB speakers with a pair of 300B monoblocks. This is another example of why you need to hear the options yourself, preferably with your music and in your room.
On the other hand, many people are happy with tiny 87dB speakers and 2 watts power. They just don't listen loudly or care about deep and/or clean bass. There are after all many other factors.
My current favorite observation is that there are things we don't know. And we don't know that we don't know them. And we don't know that we don't know what we don't know.
My current favorite observation is that there are things we don't know. And we don't know that we don't know them. And we don't know that we don't know what we don't know.
-And as a result, these things act as blind spots in our lives.
I expect with 87 db and 2 watts, its a desktop system without much expectation. I'm currently running a system like that, based on a pair of modified Heathkit signal tracers which are acting like vacuum tube powered speakers on my desktop. Kinda fun, but they really do need a sub.
As I said, I run 101dB speakers with 8 watt amps for music.
But for videos, we have a small room with a 20" TV and a pair of modest JBL speakers rated 89dB, powered by a 2-watt amp. We get enough loudness for even the "Lord of the Rings" films. Seems improbable, but works for us. Like I said, you have to hear it yourself!
If it can't play Mahler, it's useless to me.
I used Lowther Medallions with the Cary 2A3 amp and it was a great combination. The Lowthers are PM2A's and are about 100db
Hi Alan, not when I heard your system some time ago you had lowthers driven by 45 corneff amplifier and I remember it was not to great very harsh but dynamic
How are you btw
The only time the Lowthers sounded harsh was during there 200 hour breakin. They sounded beautiful with the Cary 2A3
I am doing well and living near my grand children in San Antonio, Texas. Thanks for asking
Hi Alan, I was in flowermound texas for about a year with my GF turns out she is bat shit crazy..so nowa days living in surprise AZ :)
you remember me (lawrence) my friend Frank putnam? these were the days (early 2000's) i would attend the Chicago horn club meeting at peoples house's
and yes even with steve transformerms on your lowthers to tame them it was still harsh but it just could be my hearing is/was better then most
glad your doing well BTW what is your system today??
Here is my system
JWM turntable with Ortofon 2M Black cartridge
Shindo Auriges preamplifier with phono stage
2 each Berning ZH270 power amps
Magnapan 3.6 speakers on Wye stands
Cabling is Dueland and Western Electric
Macbook Pro for streaming Tidal which is what I do the most
Light Harmonic USB cable
Intona galvonic isolater
Singxer USB to I2S converter
Audio-GD Master 7 dac
Remember most of those meetings were at my house
Don't know what you mean by Steve transformers on my Lowthers. No such thing
I still have my Lowthers. They are front speakers in my home theater system
Hope you are well
Hey Alan, you have have a few systems since we seen each other, but its been like 17 years..
anyways Steve Deckert from decware cobbled up using his small outputs I believe across the driver with a pot to tame the lowthers ...
ringing a bell now?
Yes, now I remember. John Van Halen turned me onto that. You know John of Lowther Amaerica closed up shop because Lowther was under selling him
Yes I knew John quite well in them days even used to goto his business to BS and his home to listen ...John is a stand up guy shame money is always getting in the way they really screwed themselves.
anyways I remember everything and even before those you have acoustat 2+2's
Had Acoustat monitor 3's
Paul Eizik ;
Thanks for the suggestion . Do you know anything about their tweeter mod ?
I tried to email the DIY Soundgroup with no results . Are they on holiday or something ? Their Cinema 10 looked interesting but I could not find any flat pack information , there or at Denovo .
It has been mentioned , that just because a speaker has the required characteristics 16ohms , 100db. eff. and large volumetric box's , it may not play well with low power amps like the 2A3 . What else should I pay attention to ?
Thank you .
Oh and I forgot the big-o-woofers too !
Something else I was wondering about were folded horns and open back speaker designs . They seem to be 'an' answer to the large box requirement
but I see most of them implemented with small single drivers . None with large drivers. Why is that ?
Thank you .
I almost didn't see this because it's tacked on to Alan and Lawrence's discussion ; ) The Fostex T90 is a good tweeter and that's what was used on the BK10 I heard some years back. They are showing the BK20 plus T90 with an L-Pad to match the level of the tweeter (105 dB) to the woofer (96 dB), and they show a single capacitor (1.0 to 1.5 uF) as a simple crossover to limit the low frequency response of the tweeter. I would build it with a first order series crossover which would include an inductor coil to limit the high frequency output of the woofer, which would not be limited with just the single capacitor. So there's room for experimentation. Note that the T90 is shown on a dowel rod sled making it possible to get the woofer and tweeter in phase with each other by moving the tweeter back and forth to find the sweet spot. The speaker won't sound that different "dialed in" like this, but the stereo image will be much tighter with better instrument localization.
If you have a good 2A3 SET amp it should work fine with the BK20's. You don't say much about your amp, and I'm sure you'll get many opinions on that. I heard the BK10's with fairly powerful looking p/p pentode amp, but the BK20's are rated 96 dB and should be adequate for all but loud rock and roll with a 3 Watt 2A3 amp.
Open baffle speakers come in all shapes and sizes but they are at an efficiency disadvantage compared to horns. They are also at a disadvantage in bass performance unless the baffle panel is very large. So with a 3 Watt SET an open baffle would be quite limited and you would likely need a subwoofer.
I'm unfamiliar with the Cinema 10's
If you REALLY want to hear the beauty of this little tweeter, try it with an 18/db/octave high-pass.
Most of the comments so far have been fairly detailed. So I will attempt to take a broader (and more technical) tack.
First, a SE 2A3 amp will give you no more than 4 watts (and that with a tailwind). That would normally call for 96dB/watt efficiency, which is fairly rare - your choice of speakers is quite limited. Without going into excruciating detail, this is what I call satisfactory to most audiophiles, most of the time. Many will be satisfied with 1/4 the efficiency (90dB/watt efficiency), especially if you don't need full symphonic or big band loudness. Since efficiency and bass extension both require large cabinet volumes, you probably need big cabinets unless you are listening only to sopranos with acoustic guitars. :^)
Second, an SET amp usually has no feedback and thus a damping factor in the range of 2-4. Few speaker systems are designed for that; most assume a high damping factor in the range of 10 to infinity. Therefor most SETs will produce more or less uneven deep bass, and many speakers will also have uneven response in the crossover region. This is an interesting technical point, but the marketplace offers little or no relevant data - the best approach in my mind is to listen to them yourself, preferably at home with the amp you are interested in, or at least a similar one.
Everything I have said above is of course grossly simplified. I expect there will be many expansions/corrections/etc, and that's fine with me.
Your assessment is admirably objective, right down to (and including) the conclusion.
One should listen as much as possible and decide what one likes.
(or be prepared to do a fair amount of 'flipping' -- acquiring components, evaluating, and then de-acquiring the ones that don't meet one's own aesthetic standards).
The bottom line is that, ultimately, one's preferences are generally very personal and subjective; as they say (and I don't mean this perjoratively) "de gustibus non est disputandum". I know what I like; but it's hard for me to predict what "you" will like.
all the best,
This isn't meant to be argumentative, so bear me
out-- just take it as a glimpse into Theatre-Style Hi-Fi.
4 watts is a LOT of POWER! I have yet to hear a speaker--
regardless of cost- that needs over about 1/2 watt that
can even remotely approach delivering real-life dynamics,
musical energy that can follow the musical "grooves", etc.
If you can find one-- regardless of price or amp power,
then show me..... I've never heard it happen.
You start losing music when you need more power.
More power can deliver the needed power and bandwidth.
What it can't deliver is connection to music because the
speaker and the amp is now using up the voltage swings
of micro dynamics.
Of course, more power can easily restore this ratio-- correct?
Nope. It just doesn't happen in real life, Sorry there. The extra
power makes it worse yet, Now, even more small signal is lost.
Overwhelmed by too much current.
If one could buy a 115db/watt woofer that was built right, he
would find today's best--- 101db units-- to sound muffled and
lethargic by comparison.
We all have to live with what we can actually buy.
Your choice of speakers is quite limited. Limited in what sense?
All of the world's best speakers are about 99db/watt or better.
That's not limited to me. I would say they're the only ones to buy!
You probably need large cabinets... You MUST have them!
These large cabinets are not an option, they're a minimum
Damping factor confuses me because everyday I hear small S.E.
amps delivering the best, most outstanding deep bass that any
equipment of any kind out there is delivering. It goes deeper,
is much faster, it's cleaner, and its start-up and cutoff is
A good amp will not cause a woofer cone to visibly move-- at all.
Damping factor? That is the ideal, isn't it? So why, then, is the
calculated damping factor so low with S.E. amps? It's just my
opinion but I would be looking at power supply characteristics
and internal amp wiring, not to mention speaker cables and internal
driver and crossover wiring before I would get all wrapped up in
Damping Factor theory.
A good point here is that many modern drivers are designed to
run on solid-state amps that have high D.F.
Historically speaking, those drivers were designed not to make
music but to avoid warranty problems from burned-out voice coils
operating on high-current amplifiers. Looser machining created
more air cooling, and heavier voice-coil wire handled more
current. Result? You lose 90% or more of music's most dynamic
and compelling performances.
We have a lot of deliberately-designed crappy drivers today, but
we can also buy the best High-Eff., low current drivers that have
ever been made. Examples are: GPA, ALES, and a whole group of
reasonably priced items from Radian, and from Germany and Italy.
We also have some "pro" drivers that guitarists are using, made
in Tennessee, and in other places in the USA.
Some of these are really good, and are low-cost.
We do have a problem in accessing relevant data, but most
speaker driver's specs help us out a lot.
You don't need a lot of watts, but you do need large
cabinetry and outstanding, well-machined and tightly
constructed (efficient) drivers.
Since you can easily lose the whole thing with too small
speaker and crossover wiring or inferior wire metallurgy,
you have to carefully address that area also.
This is a good argument for bi-amping. Get some muscle for the bass, and cross over at a low enough frequency to use the SET amp where it performs best. You really can have the best of both worlds.
Have Fun and Enjoy the Music
"Still Working the Problem"
Attacks and decays matter far more to our hearing and affective systems than do continuous tones and their harmonics.
Electrostatic speakers are very efficient, but they are not at all sensitive.
I've not heard any speakers that get closer to the sound of real stereo of acoustic music than 'stats can, if set up right.
Large efficient boxes - esp. horns - can get close, but no cigar.
I've been a chorister since age nine, and went through the RSCM's training. And I listen to live acoustic music at least once a week.
You seem to be confused between sensitivity and efficiency. Efficiency matters, sensitivity is far less important.
BTAgain your being confused about audio as a system, is not knew to us here.
In any work requiring systems analysis (audio IS is a systems problem) there can, for some, be a proneness to going down 'interesting rat-holes'.
Trouble with the kind of thinking that gets you down there and keeps you there / makes it quite hard to get back up and out.
Interesting rat-holes are a waste of time.
Skeptical Measurer & Audio Scrounger
I also have heard good electrostats sound real
and lifelike..... in some ways.
I'm never interested in just ONE WAY of
thinking-- about anything. Show me something
that really works, or an idea that might, and
I'll be right on it.
What I might object to is constant wranglings
excusing what does not work as well musically.
As an interesting aside, consider the many
excellent headsets out there today.
One can choose from many different dynamic or
"stat" models, and can choose either, or in some
cases, a combo of both technologies in the same
In that case, it's simple: choose the one that you like...
In the listening room, both "stats" and dynamic models
can involve the room well-- but there are different
actions and activities going on musically in the room
with each topology.
There certainly isn't any rathole here, simply
choose which topology fits your room and tastes the best..
In both cases, rather large radiating surface areas are
the best way to fully engage the room at low distortion.
Dennis wrote "In both cases, rather large radiating surface areas are
the best way to fully engage the room at low distortion."
Dennis, may I safely assume that you consider horns to be large surface area radiators because the impedance matching provided by the horn makes the mouth of the horn the effective radiating surface instead of the diameter of the driver driving the horn?
Horns are all different with differing
lengths and flare-rates, and geometry, so
no fast and easy rule...
Generally, the efficiency gain is about 3X--
maybe more, maybe less. In general, distortion
levels drop as efficiency increases.
Room coverage is bettered by the wider coverage
angles in most cases.
Remember that this all started in movie theatres
where owners liked the idea of covering 1000 people
with 8 watts. As movies got better, the speakers
had to keep pace, so both efficiency and bandwidth
were increased. Distortion levels plummeted as better
drivers and loading schemes continued to advance.
Without movie theatre's insistence on providing a
sense of presence and a sense of realistic dynamics
and voice accuracy, we'd be stuck with panels and
Clock-Radio speakers that can't get it up...
Oh, Wait! Many are using those anyway!
David Hill and James O'Donnell, I can tell you that tones and harmonics matter, just as much as transient fidelity and decay. I also attended the Royal Academy of Music. Is that enough willy-waving?
Since no one speaker system gets it all right, why the worry? Besides which, if you've ever listened to decent compression older drivers like the Vitavox S2, or the recent B&C DCM50 in a sympathetic set-up, you might find you can have a lot of your cake and eat it too.
"... only a very few individuals understand as yet that personal salvation is a contradiction in terms."
We'd have to be able to do that, because percussion instruments don't do continuous tone. And they all have their own characteristic timbre. Even cymbals of the same type & dimension, but of different make.
We really do pay far less attention to the continuous tones, for those instruments that do them.
Pianos for example don't do continuous tones, it's all attack and decay.
Of course pitch matters, 'If you can't pitch, you can't pitch'. It's how you start, no? Very big effect on what happens next, no?
Knowing this, we ought to require that audio reproduction systems should have matching rise and decay behaviour, and fast enough to boot, too few do. 'Stats do, and they engage with rooms less than other speakers.
The trouble with horns is the steep filters so many need between each driver. Some even need notch filters within their pass band, because they ring. So, their impulse and step response is poor compared to a FR 'stat.
I've heard quite a few 'good' horns including ones with Vitavox drivers and their speed is quite good, but their coherence can not match that of a QUAD FRED (the 63 and on).
My favourite horn was one of the bigger designs by 'Tommy Horning' with most of the range covered by a de-whizzerd Lowther driver. Plus deep bass and treble assistance. IIRC with minimal odd-order filters.
I've known Klipschorns and Lowther based horns since my twenties, I'm now 66. I used to work weekends in Canberra's oldest audio shop.
I find equal temperament eventually tiring, can you tell me why that might be?
I don't do willy waving, but I do like clear informed thinking.
Skeptical Measurer & Audio Scrounger
Hi Tim, FR STATS share similar problems with so called FR cone speakers in that IM distortion is the dominating factor of distortion and its audible very much audible, you pick what you like and THATS that..
but IMO 8 way 13-80kc covers all the octaves with less distortion(including the terrible IM) then any STAT will now... Meet Fulton the ,Large premiere's only speaker that can play a grand piano like no other :)
now some people may disagree with me and that fine because there is no horn system, lowther, STAT, that will play like the real thing in your home like the large fulton system can.
high sensitivity does not mean hi fidelity.
Edit: for jeff :) a large fulton speaker with the "80 driver" for the mid-range will play and sound very similar like a real piano is what i mean to say organically
I have always thought that 63s and later small models need to be filtered and given subs. Between 100 and 150Hz. When you do that diaphragm excursion is quite limited.
Tom Danley (aka TomServo) agreed with my proposal following.
Ist order HP and 3rd order LP @ 150hz. Because using 4 monopole subs* in a swarm arc at the same listening distance. When the diaphragm excursion ceases to be a problem, and the room-gain totals relatively smooth at the listening seat. Lots of amplifier power needed for the bass.
That's what I am slowly building, on a limited monthly of <$ Au 400 budget. Dipole subs are way out of my budget.
* two large push-pull sealed subs as stands, and two tall EBS (Rb) subs to the inside of the QUADs corner edge on and 2nd HP filtered down below pedal reeds.
I'll use a bit of Eq if needs be, and later go with DSP as funds allow.
Skeptical Measurer & Audio Scrounger
take a look at this thread for lots of fun ideas (see link below).
I was pretty darned happy using Altec 604E Duplexes in vented (45 Hz tuning, if memory serves) 9ft^3 boxes, but...
The thread below has led me down the primrose path to perdition :-/
all the best,
Ported two-way design with 16 ohm Altec 15 inch woofer (416) and 16 ohm Altec compression tweeter (806, if memory serves) on an Altec 811B 1" throat (quasi-sectoral) horn.
Good sounding loudspeakers that complement a 2A3 amp very well.
The only problem with Valencias is that their LF extension is quite limited (and the HF is rather rolled off, too) -- but what you get does sound very, very good!
An Altec A7 Voice of the Theatre uses a more "sophisticated" loading scheme for its woofer, but in a larger (and uglier) box. The Valencia is much more housebroken.
There was a home version called the Altec Magnificent. These are neither common nor inexpensive, though.
Sorry for cluttering your thread with replies -- as you can probably tell, this is one of my favorite-est hifi subjects!
all the best,
found a mint pair locally about 5 years ago, set them up in my 24W x 28L garage to test them out, they didnt sound good until I was about 15 feet out the garage door into my driveway. Would have never worked in my basement.
2A3 amp: 100k volume pot input from source, two stages direct coupled, JJ 2A3-40 into 3k ohm output transformer, 3W output
High efficiency speakers: > 100dB efficiency; 16 ohm load, 15" woofer.
Thank you for your response .
Do you think that an average 2A3 amp has enough umph to push a 15" bass speaker ? Or would it require a larger than average PS ? I am not real familiar with size , as you listed on your amp suggestion , for
transformer capacity .
Any other speaker suggestions ?
It's not just the 15 inch driver, it's also the cabinetry engineering, system
wiring, and amplifier characteristics that count.
The same 15' driver could be starving for power on 100 watts from one amp, and have ample power with another that is one watt.
Speaker cabinet engineering and wiring (crossovers included) is just
like that also.
THE most important consideration of all of this is cabinet internal
volume. Do your math. (see Quarter Wave theory, and consult other
If you make a cabinet even one cubic foot too small, better
install Car-Audio drivers with 1000 watt solid state amps..
Outstanding audio comes from LARGE, exactly engineered enclosures.
tube wrangler ;
I hear ya...but I do have a WAF to deal with here !
So far I've got 100db efficiency , 16 ohms and a 15" woofer .
Would a somewhat smaller woofer , say 10" or 12" , suffice in a near field situation of @ 6' or 7' ?
Keep'em coming please .
WAF: A guy just called me over this.
He recommended that I build the same speakers
in glossy piano-black built in exactly the same sizes..
He claims that he did this, and his wife
liked the piano-black model.
Apparently, it went something like this:
"See Henry how much better it is when you listen
to me and make them smaller?"
They were the exact same sizes!
I've been mulling over building a smaller speaker
because of WAF for years.
But, I haven't done it because I've yet to hear a
small speaker system that performs musically in the
things that I enjoy-- point-source, wideband micro
and macro dynamics.
The other problem is engaging the listening room.
This requires moving lots of air at low distortion levels.
You can use subwoofers and get air moving at the low-end
but is this really compatible with the rest of the system?
I don't like it-- but YMMV. I also think that a good
woofer sounds great all the way up to 1700HZ or so...
There are plenty of speakers that sound and measure
well themselves, but will not turn the listening
room into the event you're listening to. You are
aware that you're listening to a speaker.
Sometimes we assume that the room is engaged when
imaging, field depth, and soundstage vertical &
horizontal are all OK.
Where is the power, glory, and dynamics to go
I don't like the sound of 12" woofers at all.
There are some 6 1/2 and 8 inchers that sound GOOD,
and one can find these in many of those "sounds
better than it should for it's size" models.
You'll find multiples of these smaller units in
some expensive speakers that "do it all". Measurement-wise?
Certainly. Getting the ROOM to play music well?
Well, not so much...........
It's like saying "my little auto has more power
than I expected". And that's fine. Just don't compare
it to a FORD GT. (did Ford really build 500 of those?).
I don't know, but for a smaller speaker, all I can
think of is use the 15" Altec-style woofers in enclosures
that are 1/2 the cubic foot volume of ideal Querter-Wave
This cuts-off the extreme low-end but still leaves you
with a speaker that you can really love over the long-haul.
15" woofers are interesting. JBL made a latest model that
is rated at 101db/watt. GPA has one also, more along Altec
design lines. Their "604" series is really outstanding when
used properly. It's been pointed out to me that this 15"
woofer has a rather large hole in its middle to mount the
tweeter/midrange short-horn, and therefore, has less woofer
surface area than the single unit woofers, and also might have
horn-in-the-middle colorations due to the horn being placed
where bass energy can bounce off of the horn, and the horn is
too short (front-to-back) to compete with the best
All true, but the thing PERFORMS musically. No matter what
you like to play. It's just outstanding in so many ways.
Other brands of 15" woofers are out there, and I've been able
to compare some of those.
In general, I found that 15" woofers that had efficiency
ratings of 98, 99, or 100db/watt ratings just can't compete
with the Altec, JBL and GPA 101db models. There's just no
contest at all when it comes to listening to them.
That extra db or two wasn't gotten easily, and the results
are certainly audibly superior.
Sounds interesting , thank you for the info .
By the way , are those prices concurrent ? Those ads remind me of the old turn-of-the-century catalogs that my grandfather gave me . You know , the ones with $10 stoves and such !
tube wrangler ;
You do have a habit of making very convincing arguments favoring your choices !
I wonder how close one could get with a flat pack and kit using a smaller bass driver ? All of this , to begin with , is an experiment to see what
this type of arraignment is all about . Not necessarily the final product .
But please , keep'em coming . I am learning a lot and that ain't a bad thing !
Thank you .
sorry, I thought that would be obvious.
Link below FYI (great resource for info, as is the sister site www.radioshackcatalogs.com )
all the best,
Again, high sensitivity drivers are required, and, as others have pointed out, appropriate enclosures/baffling will provide "best results".
I'd suggest giving consideration to 12" coaxials. Personal favorites are the vintage Electrovoice "Wolverine" (their budget line) LT12. This is a 12" woofer (essentially the EV LS12) with a coaxial "whizzer" cone for midrange and a coaxially mounted EV T-35B compression driver/diffraction horn tweeter.
Nice sounding, beautifully made, and not expensive even on eBAY -- not terribly common, but there's usually a pair on there.
These can be put into large-ish vented boxes or used on "open baffles", perhaps with some subwoofer support for bass.
The other EV 12" coaxes (12TRXB and 12TRX) are pretty good, too -- but I really like the LT12 and they're far cheaper (i.e., represent, to my tastes, much better value).
(the mismatched cabinets in front of the Duplexes contain a pair of LT12s in this photo)
all the best,
As he said, 100-ish dB (per watt @ 1 meter) woofers (e.g., Altec 416 family members, or the Altec Duplexes I mentioned).
all the best,
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